Self-care during the silly season
Christmas is supposed to be festive and fun! And it’s something that most of us look forward to after a long year of work or study. After all, it’s summer! And time for the annual holidays. That means beach days, lazy days, road trips and lots of time spent with loved ones.
But the reality is that for a lot of people, this time of year in particular can be stressful – late nights, too much ‘people-ing’, sometimes family-related stress, and the big one, financial pressures – can all mean that some people find themselves anxious, fatigued, burnt out and even depressed.
That’s why self-care in all its forms is really important. Especially at this time of year.
Self-care isn’t just for spoilt millennials, it should form an essential part of your normal routines, because taking time out for ourselves isn’t selfish. We all live busy ‘plugged in’ lives, and taking time out for ourselves is crucial for our physical, emotional and mental well-being.
But self-care doesn’t just mean booking a manicure and a massage at the day spa, either. It means taking care of your health, getting those annual check-ups, making sure all the bills are paid, getting the chores done and crossing things off your ‘to-do list.
At this time of year, it’s important too, to take a little time to tidy up all the ‘loose ends’ and get ready for the year ahead. Prepare yourself, because we can all attest to the fact that, once ‘real life’ starts again and we’re knee-deep in our usual routines and commitments, all the things we ‘meant’ to do (but didn’t) when we had a few days off, start to become a burden. And the stress sets in again … and we feel like we didn’t even have a holiday at all!
So, here are some ideas for helping you to stay on top of the holiday stresses and a few things to consider as you prepare yourself for the New Year.
- Keep up your exercise routine. Yes, it’s the holidays and so so SO tempting to hit that ‘snooze’ button. But we promise you’ll feel so much better if you go for the run, or make it to yoga. You’ll be better able to cope with the late nights and the alcohol too!
- Sleep… It’s Christmas and that usually means a series of fancy functions to celebrate the season. But lots of partying can take a toll, so make sure that you grab an early night every chance you get. Binging on Netflix doesn’t count. While you might be relaxing, your body needs proper sleep to rejuvenate.
- Spend time with people you love. If Christmas parties mean hanging out with people whose company you don’t enjoy or cause you anxiety in any way, choose to stay home. Or maybe just do the ‘pop in’ to say hello and keep going.
- Watch your spending. It can be really helpful to have a budget for this time of year. This helps you to manage all the Christmas spending. But be aware of the after Christmas sales too – if you go overboard, you run the risk of ending up with a ‘debt hangover’ which isn’t easily solved with a Panadol and a glass of water.
- Pay your bills. Being financially in control is what the fashion industry would call ‘the new black’. It’s Smart. Sassy. And totally on trend right now.
- Declutter your spaces. Your environment can absolutely affect your mental health. So, take some time for cleaning up and clearing out! Make an effort to start 2020 fresh and invigorated and get rid of anything that’s weighing you down, or holding you back, doesn’t fit, doesn’t work, or just isn’t you. You could make a little money on the local Facebook buy/swap page or Gumtree too!
- Plan the year ahead. Does this sound a bit OCD? It’s not intended to. In fact, research shows that people who set goals (and achieve them) have a greater sense of overall wellbeing, purpose and life enjoyment than those who just meander through life without any real plans. You don’t have to be overly specific – some people prefer life be more ‘free flowing’ and see what opportunities show up, others like to have a framework, so just do whatever works for you. The important thing is to put some thought into the year ahead. Because if you don’t actually articulate what you want, you’ll never, ever achieve it!
- Spend time in nature. Many of us spend most of our time in office buildings, under artificial lights in fairly structured lifestyles. So not only is it a wonderful change to be outside, under the stars, or under the trees or watching the waves roll in as the sun sets, it’s actually really beneficial for your health.
- Be grateful. For everything and anything you can think of. Friends, family, your health, your income, your cat, your lover …. When you appreciate what you have on a regular basis you begin to work different muscles in your brain and develop a sturdy positive mindset. And a positive mindset is a real asset when things get tough or overly stressful.
- One of the simplest and most effective techniques for combatting stress is taking a long breath in…. and out again! If you do this a few times (and maybe even close your eyes) you’ll instantly feel calmer. What’s more, you can do this anywhere, anytime…. even in the queue at the supermarket checkout.